Rok is a legend in the underground. A status gained as a result of his work as singer and principal designer for infamous metal band Sadistik Exekution – Whose sound and look provided a huge influence on the burgeoning black metal scene of the late 1980s to early 1990s; whilst also inspiring countless others in the general underground art and music scenes.
In addition to his work with SadEx, Rok has also worked solo – On his own music, on commissions and also on his own self directed art practice. Indeed, over the last 30 or so years Rok has found his designs and art used by countless bands, record labels and publications. Gaining him countless fans and admires all over the world.
Wanting to learn more about the man and see what he is currently up to, we sent Rok some questions to answer over email.
Which you can read below…
Name + D.O.B?
ROK + 666/06/66
City, State and Country you currently call home?
Dubbo Tip, Portland, Oregon, USA
City, State and Country you’re from?
Woy Woy Tip, Uppsala, Norway, Sweden
Please describe some memories – such as art, music, relationships, adventures, study, romance, politics, work, crime, religion… Anything really – from the stages of your life noted below:
* Your childhood:
I used charcoal to draw huge swastikas over the walls at the house I grew up in. I did this while my parents went out to the shops and left me home alone for an hour, when I was about twelve years old.
All through my early years I spent a lot of time by myself. I did a lot of drawing, usually things like guns, tanks and weapons as well as skeletons and monsters. I also used to keenly look around for skulls and bones.
Where I lived and grew up, it was a low population area, with lots of bush and not so many houses and buildings, so it was easy enough to wonder off and explore, looking for things like that.
One time I found a whole horse skeleton and skull not far from home. So I carried the skull home as if it was a valuable trophy or some sort of prize. I painted that skull bright green and kept it for many years. I can’t remember what ever happened to it.
I also started building model kits of planes, tanks, ships and so on, but mostly I liked to build the German WW2 aircraft, Junkers, Messerschmitt fighters, bombers etc… I’ve had a lifelong interest in weapons of war, with a very fond spot for the Nazi era weapons. Not the ideology, but the aesthetics I mean.
* Your teenage years:
I continued on with what I was doing in my childhood days, with the drawing and the model building, the weapons of war, the skulls and so on. But now I was starting to get into heavy metal.
It was an easy thing to do because back in those days, the late 70’s and early 80’s there was a lot of hard rock and early metal played on the radio and on TV programs. Bands like Black Sabbath, AC-DC and Kiss were very big back then and this was also the era when bands like Iron Maiden and Motorhead were starting to become more popular.
Of course, by my later teens I started going more crazy and formed the band (Editor: namely Sadistik Exekution), got further and further into metal and this just kept going.
All the while I was still doing my art and still had a similar mind like as if I was a permanent child.
* Your 20s:
Things just kept getting more and more insane as the years rolled on. My 20s was the main period of Sadistik Exekution for me.
So while I continued to do other things, the band was definitely my main focus, which meant live gigs, recordings, band related artwork and lots of arguing and generally going mental!
* Your 30s:
A continuation of the previous 10 years. But the band activities would just about come to a stop by my mid 30s.
Just too many problems kept arising and it became increasingly challenging to keep doing the band. So we didn’t ever officially break up, but rather, we basically slowed right down to an almost dead stop.
This was also the period when the internet started to change the way the entire world operated. I believe the advent of internet and mobile device technology is the biggest individual change that has occurred in my time on this planet. So during my 20s it was not part of my life at all, but as the years rolled in through my 30s the internet just kept growing and making a greater impact on my world and the entire world.
* Your 40s:
Probably quite a dull and unproductive period.
There was the very occasional band related activity, but I think mostly through these years I started to shy away from the rest of the world and get more into my art and eventually start building this into my new direction.
* Your 50s:
Health issues started kicking in, as they do. So be warned all you younger people, the term SHIT HAPPENS does actually happen as you get older, regardless of what you may think!
But also now, once again this is a continuation of the previous ten years, meaning that I have distanced myself further and further away from people and delved more into my art and art career.
So these days I am very much a recluse and spend a huge proportion of my time concentrating on my art. In fact, now I’m focusing more than ever before on art. I think if I was born with this ‘natural ability’ or whatever you want to call it then I may as well try to make the most of it.
FUKK YOU ALL
In your long and illustrious life – what would you say is the most fukkked thing that has ever happened to you?
It hasn’t happened yet, but it sure as hell is coming!
Art and Music Questions
When and why did you first become interested in art, music and everything creative?
… and any pivotal creative moments / influences?
I think maybe like anyone else who’s very creative, as in a full time artist or musician, you’re just born this way.
It’s not so much a thing that has a particular pivotal moment. It just evolves and you become aware of it as a kid and it continues to grow and evolve as your body and mind grows and evolves.
It’s sort of like your intestine is part of your body or your hair colour or genetic background, it’s just part of you and you don’t know any different.
Of course, you have moments or periods of discovery as you evolve, like when I first heard Venom, Hellhammer, Sodom and the like, it had a big impact on me, but it was my way of thinking in the first place that made me discover those bands.
So these things, although they may be spikes or profound parts of your ongoing creative existence, are simply all part of the ongoing process….
What are some of your favourite guns, tanks, planes and other weapons?
We ask as we know guns and other gear are a major theme in your work.
So my favourite weapons are in fact WW2 era Luftwaffe aircraft and perhaps my favourite guns are the machine guns and cannons fitted to those aircraft. In particular for example, the big cannon fitted to the nose of some Messerschmitt Me262 jet aircraft.
Another favourite, back on the ground now, but still from Germany in WW2 are the tanks such as the Panther and Jagdpanther, especially the extremely brutal looking Jagdpanther.
Back in the sky again, an all time fav is the Junkers Ju87 Stuka dive bomber, again, to me an extremely brutal and evil looking design.
These things are very strongly etched into my creative mind!
(Some paintings by Rok.)
If people wanted to work with you or buy some of your art and wares – How should they get in touch and where should they visit?
The best ways to find me are to do a search on Facebook or Instagram for Rokkart or Rokk Artworx or simply do a google search for Rok Sadistik Exekution.
I do have a reasonably permanent webstore and the link for that one is rokk.bigcartel.com however, you can also find me on Instagram under the name rok_sadistik_art.
I find these days specific online names or links can be a bit transient, so I suggest searching and see what comes up. So just be sure that whatever link or way you’ve found me, that it’s something current, not from the past. That’s the way the internet is, from my observations anyway.
So yes, just try the rokk.bigcartel online shop and look for the contact tab or look up the Instagram rok_sadistik_art as first options.
Any upcoming projects you would like to mention?
Lots of artwork, meaning lots of drawings, paintings, commissions for bands and individuals and endless ideas for new drawings and paintings that continually pop into my head.
Aside from that I am also planning to record another solo album and have a book published, which I intend to be mainly a visual autobiographical sort of thing, like a coffee table heavy metal art book, but like everything else I do, these will evolve eventually.
I haven’t set an exact dates for the book or album, but I’m hoping both eventuate in 2022.
Odds and Ends
If you could live in any place, during any historical era – Where and when would that be?
…and why would you choose that time and place?
I actually think of this a bit.
To be honest, I would have to say either right now, as in the present or possibly back in the 1970’s in Australia.
In many ways I’m a realist, so I wouldn’t want to go back to medieval times for example, because life would be too short and painful. It seems like everything was some form of brutal torture back then.
Even 100 years ago life would have been shorter and more painful. Imagine going to a dentist in the 1920’s compared to now!
Ultimately, a time machine or similar sort of thing would be the best. I mean so you could go back to any period in any place, just for a quick 15 minutes or so, to get a view and feeling of what it was like and then quickly come back to the present, maybe… ?!?
I would have to say King Kong, because he’s more animalistic and brutal!
What role did toys play in your childhood?
Actually I did have some toys that I still remember and have always thought of them with great fondness.
One was a plastic toy submarine, with a battery powered electric motor in it. The submarine was a realistic looking grey metal coloured looking thing, probably based on a real war time submarine, rather than a more toyish sort of thing.
That was a real favourite!
I also remember cap guns. Do they still exist? Can you still buy cap guns or do younger people these days not even know what they are? If not, they were realistic looking toy guns that used a thin roll of paper, with a small amount of explosive powder or paste glued to the paper.
So as you pulled the trigger a little hammer would hit the little bit of explosive stuff and BANG it would go off like a real gun. It even had a little bit of smoke and the appropriate smell of a gun being fired!
Another toy I remember was a remote control tank. But there was a wire between the control unit and the tank. This was back in the 70’s and I’m not sure if true wireless remote controlled toys were on the mainstream market back then?
Other toys I recall were some rubber skeletons and other rubber creatures and a battery powered walking robot.
I also had the usual toy cars and things that most other kids have owned.
(2 recent illustrations by Rok.)
Who was your 1st crush?
…and why were you so infatuated with them?
You want the truth? Well here you go… The blonde woman in ABBA, Agnetha.
Again, this was back in the late 70’s and I think this was the first time I ever looked at a female with thoughts that she looked hot!
What are the top 3 items you own?
At the moment, that’s hard to say, but probably my American Fender Precision, American Fender Jazz Bass and Japanese Fender Strat.
Bet people wouldn’t have thought I would say that. They’d more likely expect me to mention more contemporary metal sort of instruments like Jacksons or something. Perhaps cars or more metal sort of stuff like particular albums or t-shirts?
Anyway, I think they are my current top three.
Please describe your last dream in detail…
I’m not much of a dreamer, as in I don’t recall many dreams from my sleep. So rather than mention any recent dreams, I’ll tell you about a couple of very old dreams.
About 25 years ago I had a few dreams involving real life versions of some of my Sadistik Exekution style art. I mean the old style mutilated bodies and so on.
Well anyway I dreamt that I cut my own penis off and threw it away, like threw it in a rubbish bin. Then I later decided that I wanted it back, but it was too late, and I couldn’t find it. I desperately searched for it, ripping the contents of lots of rubbish bins out, tipping out and throwing around the trash…
But I couldn’t find it and eventually I woke up, with a real nightmare sort of experience.
Another very similar dream was when I decided to cut off my own head.
So somehow I did manage to cut my head off and again, just like the penis dream, I then decided I wanted it back and to make matters worse with this dream, a result of severing my own head was that I was now DEAD and therefore not actually able to look for my head and there was no way of bringing me back to life so I could look for my head even if I was alive, because it just wasn’t gonna happen either way.
Again, I woke up with a feeling of horror and anxiety.
After these dreams I actually made a point of not doing any more of that Sadistik style art for quite a while, perhaps a few years!
Of everything you have done, what would you most like to be remembered for?
At the end of the day and after I have departed this world, it’s not going to matter to me, because I won’t know!
However, if I must give a slightly more ‘desirable’ answer, I’d say my art or as an artist. The two main things that I’ve done in life are probably Sadistik Exekution and art.
I think in all honesty I’ve done a better job with art than SadX, in my opinion anyway.